Coastal Barrier Resources


The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA) of 1982 designated relatively undeveloped coastal barriers along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts as part of the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) and made these areas ineligible for most new Federal expenditures and financial assistance. The Coastal Barrier Improvement Act (CBIA) of 1990 reauthorized the CBRA and expanded the CBRS to include undeveloped coastal barriers along the Florida Keys, Great Lakes, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

There are a total of 584 system units, encompassing approximately 1.3 million acres of land and associated aquatic habitat. The system units are generally comprised of private lands that were relatively undeveloped at the time of their designation within the CBRS. The boundaries of these units are generally intended to follow geomorphic, development, or cultural features.

The law encourages the conservation of hurricane-prone, biologically rich coastal barriers by restricting Federal expenditures that encourage development. HUD financial assistance may not be used for most activities in CBRS units.

HUD Guidance

Is the project located in a Coastal Barrier Resource System (CBRS) unit? With very limited exceptions, federal assistance is not allowed for projects in a CBRS unit. Federal monies can be spent within CBRS units only for certain exempted activities (e.g., a nature trail) after consultation with the FWS (see 16 USC 3505 for exceptions to limitations on expenditures).

Compliance and Documentation

The environmental review record should contain one of the following:

  • A general location map establishing there are no Coastal Barrier Resource System units in the city or county
  • A map issued by the FWS or FEMA (or from their website) showing that the proposed project is not located within a designated Coastal Barrier Resource System Unit. The FEMA map panel number must be cited within the Environmental Review Record
  • Approval of the project from the FWS, including all prior correspondence

View Coastal Barrier Resources - Worksheet.

View Coastal Barrier Resources - Partner Worksheet.